Organizations all over the US are calling on sewers, sewists, people with sewing machines to help create handmade masks to help cope with the coronavirus shortage. This DIY surgical face mask pattern is free and has 3 variations! While you’re stuck in isolation or quarantine, here are 3 ways to make a medical face mask to block germs and sew some good! This post will also help you find a place to donate homemade pandemic masks.
See my new posts, how to make a face mask with a filter pocket and how to make a mask for kids.
There is evidence that these masks do NOT work as well as PPE medical masks so there has been debate on whether or not these are needed. In situations like a pandemic, something is better than nothing, and according to the CDC’s Crisis Capacity Strategies homemade masks can be worn. It is my hope that these masks don’t end up on the frontline of the pandemic, but hopefully will free up some masks from other areas in healthcare so that the medical grade surgical masks can be used for treating COVID-19 patients.
I also hope that fun, bright patterns and showing we care will uplift nurses, doctors and frontline healthcare workers as they work tirelessly against this virus. A little morale boost is a sweet way to show healthcare workers we care. And an activity will help us all feel better about staying at home! Please stay at home and sew- we don’t get this opportunity often!
Where To Donate for Face Mask Shortage
Find a place to donate before making these, that way you can ask what specifications and materials they want and make the masks accordingly.
- Call your local hospital, rehab centers, nursing homes, clinic, etc and ask if you can donate masks to help with the PPE shortage.
- Call your local Joann Fabrics – Joann will either take your fabric masks or tell you where to take them
- Ask your healthcare worker friends or ask around in your community groups on Facebook. Connecting with a healthcare worker is a great option.
- Also, immunosuppressed people or those in high-risk groups in your life may appreciate the mask for when they have to go out to get groceries
Watch this video if you prefer a video tutorial! This will show you two ways do make the elastic mask:
Kid size mask | Filter variation for hospitals
DIY Fabric Surgical Mask with 1/4″ Elastic
-quilting cotton fabric
–1/4″ braided elastic
Elastic alternatives: Foldover Elastic (5/8″)(IN STOCK) is super soft and would be great for this mask. Use a slightly shorter measurement since the elastic is typically stretchier than braided elastic.
These fabric face masks are all made with a basic rectangle to start. The printable pattern includes pleat markings for this type of mask.
Cut two lengths of 1/4″ elastic 14″ each. Pin one length at the top corners of the fabric and there other at the bottom. Lay the second piece of fabric face down. Sew around all edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening to turn. Turn, press and create pleats according to the pattern piece.
Sew pleats down and backstitch. This stitching will also close the opening that you left.
Handmade Face Mask with Elastic Cording
-quilting cotton fabric
–Elastic cording (in stock!)
These masks are ear-loop masks and the thin elastic cording is comfortable to wear. They are also really fast to make with an elastic gathering technique.
Cut two squares from pattern and sew together with right sides together. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around, leaving a small opening on one side to turn.
Turn right side out and press. Then press under both sides 3/8″ and sew in place. Thread 7″ of round elastic through the opening using a large embroidery/yarn needle. Tie the elastic together.
Spin the elastic around so the knot is inside the casing. Gather the fabric with the elastic and sew in place at the top and bottom of the mask to hold.
Latex-free surgical mask with bias tape binding
This option doesn’t use elastic and so it’s a great option if you don’t have any.
-quilting cotton fabric, high quality cloth is best
–double fold 1/2″ bias tape (or handmade binding), two 35″ strips
Sew two squares together along the top and bottom edge, leaving the sides open. Turn and press well. Pleat the fabric according to the pattern piece (or all in one direction, if desired). Enclose raw side edges with the middle of your bias tape strip. Sew bias tape together to sandwich mask in the middle. Tie ends of bias tape in small knots.
Get a printable instruction sheet for filter face masks here!
Check out more related posts below!
Masks and scrubs posts
–Best masks for grocery store runs – 3 versions
–Best mask for hospital donations – this one has no elastic!
–Surgical Cap or Scrub Cap Tutorial and Pattern
–Kids Mask Template
–Tips for making lots of masks faster!
–Printable ‘Take a Mask’ Download
–Add a wire for adjustable nose
Would you please give me the measurements for the pleats. Start them 1 inch down? How deep? What is the finished length on the sides after the pleats are in?
thank you, Terri
This step has me confused as well – where do you start the pleats are they 1/2 inch per pleat or is it 1/2 inch per each side of the pleat – what is the measurement of the masks top to bottom with the pleats completed!
Your instructions are not clear here!
I don’t need to print the full pattern, so can you provide the suggested size for the fabric squares? Thanks much!
The pattern is 8.5″ square
What is the finished size of the masks?
I want to try these……
What is the measurement of the rectangle? I see 14″ for elastic but nothing for the fabric itself? Thanks much, Laura in Boise
I have seen other similar patterns that recommend 8×8 inch squares with a seam allowance. The pattern on this site for the one with a filtration pocket (which is quite similar to these) says 9 inches by 7 inches. I’m sure 8×8 inch squares would be suitable.
I spent a lot of my working life wearing masks – and know that: The masks that loop around the ears are extremely uncomfortable. The ones that tie behind the head are most comfortable because you can adjust them to fit and they don’t pull on your ears. The downside – they will ruin your hair like wearing a baseball cap.
Hi, Thanks for this. It’s great. I’ve made the first one with the pleats but I’m not sure the elastic works. Is it the right way around in your illustration? How do you wear it? Thanks. Annie
I believe that the mask you refer to is the one that goes around the back of your head not around the ears
K M Kinsey
Thank you…..Thank you…..Thank you
What are the dimensions of the squares.
Mine printed 8 x 8.
I cannot find how to download the pattern for the pattern with the ear tabs using the elastic cord. Nowhere is there a hyperlink to get this one and nowhere does it tell you what size to cut the square. Absolutely frustratingly unnecessary at this time. I’ve tried for the last hour. If I were shopping I’d have bought from your competition by now.
What size are the fabric squares? I don’t see that information in the directions or the PDF pattern. I wanted the printed size because I’m not sure of my printout of the PDF is actual size or not. Thanks!
Thank you so much.
Please add truckers to the list of people in desperate need of masks! They are out in contact with people, delivering our ventilators, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, masks and food, but they have no protection. My husbands trucking company is making masks out of paper shop towels, staples and rubber bands!
Please sew masks for these men and women who are at high risk due to the nature of their work, and without who we wouldn’t have basics. Truckers are driving extra hours, but don’t have access to even hot food right now.
Call local trucking companies, truck stops or trucking repair shops for safe places to drop them off.
Thanks for all the mask suggestions. I was only able to find the 5/8″ foldover elastic which I have never used before. Is this used in the same manner as the 1/4″ elastic, or do you fold it in half first, sew down the length and then attach it? Hope that makes sense.
These are great ideas!
Could I trouble you for exact dimensions for these patterns? (particularly for the first mask, as that one seems to be the most flexible/practical)
Really appreciate your work on these patterns. I hope to make several for family and friends! Just a question, I don’t have access to a printer right now so I’m hoping you can share the dimensions of the rectangle – does 9″x11″ sound about right?
Even those masks can not prevent the virus, they could be worn over their N95’s, so should you happen to get sneezed on or cough upon, they would maybe protect your N95 a little. You take it off right away, they are washable, think this is real smart. Have a niece, neighbour, her two daughters are nurses as well and a son that’s in firefighting. I am in Canada and I’m definitely doing this. May your family be safe.
If you use furnace filter fabric, does anyone know if it still works after being washed?
No. Filter fabric can’t be washed, so it would have to be used as an insert. If the mask gets moist, I’ve been reading, it should be removed and washed. If you’re using a 2-layer mask, use different colors so you know which side goes against your face.
When I tried to download the pattern all that came up was the rectangles and it was on two pages. Can I please just get the measurements so I know what to cut?
Sorry but I can’t tell how large the squares are ????❤️
The Squares are 8″ square before any sewing.
What size are the pieces???
How large should the squares be to make masks with the binding tape?
What size is the fabric cut to? I’m not seeing that information. Thank you
Jennifer Van Pernis
Please what is the size of the fabric squares needed for the simple ear loop mask? Thank you J
Hospitals here asking for particular masks the one where Loops behind their ears. Just a thought for people to check the hospital in their area to see which style and specifications are. the ones here that many are making do not tie. Just a thought to share but I love that you give many options
Answering the above questions would be great…. I also need to know. I can’t get the pattern to download.
Thank you for the patterns. I have been looking and looking for these.
I have made all of these, plus others. I like them all. I just made 5 for a neighbor and her family. Plus the 4 I made for our daughter, granddaughter in-law and great grandson. He just wanted one. The GD-in-law got 2. She has MS, and two boys to take care of.
Thank you so so much for the invaluable patterns. Be safe
What are the size of the squares for the ear loop mask?
I’ve been making masks similar to the first one (with fabric ties instead of elastic). Approximate measurements for the square: 9” x 8” for a large adult, 8” x 8” for a small. Hope this helps
SUSAN ROLLINS CREIGHTON
I’ve been successful with using a piece of copy paper as a pattern for the mask, 8.5″ x 11″ or 9″ x 12″. This leaves enough fabric to make two 1.5″ or 3″ pleats. Hope this helps.
what are the sizes of the squares of fabric in the Latex free face mask pattern and the surgical face mask pattern?
This is probably silly, but how would one wear the 1/4″ elastic version? Do the bands fit around the back of the head? It seems like the bottom one would need to be shorter since the base of your head closer to your neck is smaller than the top part of your head.
Thank you for your tutorial on face masks. I really like how you show the way you pin your elastic with the fabric. I don’t see that much in other tutorials and yours was very detailed! I made the HANDMADE FACE MASK WITH ELASTIC CORDING but I didn’t have elastic cord so I used the 1/8 elastic I had and made my pieces for the ear longer to about 12″ each for comfort and ease on back of ear.
I found a brilliant way to make the elastic fit perfectly around the ears.
It’s pony beads. I squeezed the elastic through the bead. It’s too tight to fall off & it can be adjusted. The bead is on the outside so you can’t feel it.